UPDATED: Malaysian Passenger Plane Crashes in Ukraine

By: CBS News
By: CBS News
A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country.

Image from www.cbsnews.com

July 17, 2014

DEVELOPING

CBS News - A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country, and Malaysian Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights over Ukrainian airspace.

Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet. He also said it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 72,000 feet.

Ukraine's president says his country's armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets, after reports that a Malaysian Airlines plane went down over Ukraine. President Petro Poroshenko says Thursday "we do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets."

CBS News has not confirmed that the plane was shot down.

Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter feed that it "has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow." The plane's destination was Kuala Lumpur.

The Donetsk region government said Thursday's plane crashed near a village called Grabovo, which it said is currently under the control of armed pro-Russian separatists. The region where the flight was lost has seen severe fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels in recent days.

A launcher similar to the Buk missile system was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

Ukraine pro-Russia rebels say they didn't shoot down airliner, blame Ukrainian armed forces. Ukraine's president says his country's armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets.

An Associated Press journalist has counted at least 22 bodies at the plane wreckage site.

The plane appeared to have broken up before impact and the wreck is scattered over a wide area.


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